Thinking about What if teachers and students swapped roles more often? 60-60-60 #41 and reflecting…
Ten posts ago in the 60-60-60 experi(ence)ment, I wrote about empathy. I specifically reflected on assuming the role of Trinity fifth grader and “walking as a child” for the school day. A few years ago that professional expectation, completed by every member of our school’s faculty and staff, did more to build empathy than I ever expected. I was tempted to just hit re-post and let #31 serve as #41…but then I read John Burk’s most recent post, Seeing the (lack of) Value of Standardized Assessment First-Hand with WayFind.
His full post is worth reading — not only does he reflect on standardized tests through the lens of both a student and teacher, but he also shares his full WayFind assessment page, addresses positives and negatives of this program, and offers solutions related to his criticisms. Most important in my mind, however, is that he connects this professional experience of taking a standardized assessment to something bigger — to the idea of empathy. And for this reason, his post is the perfect riff on Bo’s 41st 60-60-60 post.
I must say I felt inadequate upon seeing these results, and wondered immediately how a 9th grader, forced to take the PSAT for literally no reason, must feel about scoring in the 20th percentile in math, when he literally has yet to study all of the math on the test. What does this do to that student’s confidence in math? If taking assessments like this helps me and my colleagues to develop a greater sense of empathy for students and the struggles they face with standardized testing, that would be a wonderful benefit.
Most importantly, what do I do now that I’m deemed proficient? How do I become advanced? How does this test help me to learn? I don’t get to see the questions I missed, nor, as far as I understand, do my administrators. This assessment doesn’t tell me what things I can do successfully, nor does it provide me with challenges to further improve my skills. This provides me with very little opportunity to grow, and only the vaguest possible notion of my weaknesses. Again, this makes me feel lots of empathy for students across the country who get standardized test results back and only see a single number.
So, what if we did swap roles more often? What would we feel? How would we change?